If you’ve come to Disney Baby for some familiar comfort in the midst of a very unfamiliar (and unexpected) experience, know that you’re not alone.
I, too, was shocked to see a faint second line on a reluctantly taken pregnancy test. And that doesn’t make me a bad person — it certainly doesn’t make me a bad mother — although it did make for a challenging pregnancy. And when almost 40 percent of births in the U.S. are from unintended pregnancies, there are plenty of us out there.
Here are 6 things you should know if you weren’t expecting to be expecting:
1. It’s normal. No matter what you’re feeling right now — denial, confusion, nervousness, and even regret — it’s normal. Your darkest thoughts? Normal. For me, it felt like my body was being invaded — my life over-taken — completely out of my control. And why wouldn’t someone have conflicting emotions about that? The most important thing you can do is to just talk to someone you trust — whether it’s your partner or even a therapist — and to know that your initial reactions in no way indicate what kind of mother you’ll be.
2. If you can’t change a situation, change how you handle the situation. There are always reasons to be nervous and reasons to be excited — even when you plan a pregnancy! — so try focusing on the positives. Browse through itty-bitty newborn clothes, read through parenting blogs (like this here Disney Baby), and finally come to terms with your pregnancy. Grab the reigns and be productive. This may not have been planned, but it’s in your control to plan from here on out.
3. Stop feeling guilty. First of all, no one feels truly prepared to be a parent, even if they took prenatal vitamins years before conceiving and actively tried to get pregnant for months. I remember reading all of the pre-conception to-do recommendations (see your doctor! your dentist! your yoga trainer!) and feeling overwhelmed with guilt. I wasn’t ready! I wasn’t prepared! But just think about those women who go through their entire pregnancies not knowing they’re pregnant, and they seem to turn out just fine. You’ll be fine, too, and your baby probably won’t be born in a toilet. So at least you have that going for you.
Don’t worry about what you didn’t do and just focus on what you can do now.
4. Sometimes unplanning is the easiest kind of planning. Speaking as someone who had an unplanned pregnancy and is now struggling with taking the leap for pregnancy #2, I often find myself wishing it would just happen without my trying. Because I know I’d find a way to make it work — I know I’d love that baby with everything I have — but it’s just such a big, life-changing decision to consciously make. In a lot of ways, having the decision made for you eliminates the stressful hemming and hawing.
5. Soon everything will come into focus. You know those moments where everything in your life — all of the failures and mistakes and insignificant nothings — suddenly seem like they were leading you to the perfect opportunity or the perfect person? THIS is that moment for you. Trust in that.
6. You’ll never regret this. Never.